The Personal Finance Book for You, According to Your Goal

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The Personal Finance Book for You, According to Your Goal

March 14, 2022

There is nothing like a good book to help you shift your perspective or learn a new skill set. Learning about financial well-being never stops. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced investor, we all have things to learn when it comes to personal finance.

“Reading about personal finance can sometimes feel like another language, and if you don’t feel like you understand the language, you’ll tend to avoid the topic,” says Shannon McLay, founder of personal finance coaching company The Financial Gym. But there are a few timeless, easy-to-grasp gems in print out there. Here are five that McLay recommends to her clients, according to common money challenges and goals.

The Year of Less, by Cait Flanders

Best for: Anyone who’s struggled with money anxiety or emotional spending.

When you think of a finance book, you might think of spreadsheets and formulas—but this book gets deep into the “softer” side of money. That is, the psychology of money and how we tend to confuse our intrinsic worth with our income or possessions. “It gets into the emotional spending that anyone can fall into,” McLay says. “It’s a different kind of personal finance book because it can get you to look at different ways you spend money.”

Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk, by Cameron Huddleston

Best for: Those caring for both kids and parents at the moment.

Because of increased life expectancy around the world, many people today are finding themselves in the so-called “sandwich” generation. That means they’re raising their children and caring for aging parents. This presents unique challenges not only for your stress levels but also for your finances. “This book helps you answer tough questions. Are your parents a potential liability for you?” McLay says, “Money is so taboo, and this book is so awesome in that it has so many great ways to bring up conversations about money without ruffling too many feathers.” Huddleston covers all the things you need to think about when it comes to caring for aging parents like long-term care, retirement, end-of-life care, and legal documents.

Broke Millennial, by Erin Lowry

Best for: Well, um, broke millennials, but also anyone of any age struggling with the paycheck-to-paycheck life.

This one is by now a modern classic. It’s at the top of McLay’s list because it’s a great primer on all things money. “Don’t let the word ‘millennial’ stop you from embracing it if you’re not a millennial, because she has a really good voice and breaks money down really well,” McLay says. Another bonus: Lowry has great follow-up books on investing and money conversations, too. If you enjoy the first in the series, her other books may help you go deeper into your personal finance journey.

Retire Early with Real Estate, by Chad Carson

Best for: Aspiring real estate investors.

Have you dreamed of being a landlord or investing in property for your future? Chard Carson’s Retire Early might be the book for you. McLay even has her employees read it because it’s so helpful. “If you’ve ever thought about investing in real estate for your own home or in any other way, Carson talks about how it can help you become financially free,” McLay says. “Between the case studies and diagrams, it makes real estate investing very approachable,” she adds.

Hustle Away Debt, by David Carlson

Best for: Those dealing with debt—or anyone interested in side hustles.

Got debt? You’re certainly not alone. Debt around the globe is at an all-time high. While most debt books might focus on interest rates and consolidation, this book focuses on how to get out by bringing in more income. “Just a debt book is depressing,” McLay says. While this book does get into the need-to-know debt details, Carlson’s main focus is how to find a creative, lucrative side hustle. Even people not in debt could benefit from it!

The Personal Finance Book for You, According to Your Goal

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